Korea Ginseng targets travel retail sector

Korea Ginseng Corp has showcased its products at a regional duty-free and travel-retail show in Singapore for the second time.

It presented its red ginseng-based products at the 2018 TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference in Singapore, introduced last year in a new healthcare food category.

Organised by the Tax Free World Association, this year’s five-day exhibition at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Center features 3000 products across 300 companies. Korean Ginseng Corp is hoping to introduce its products to more customers in the Asia-Pacific region this time. “The goal for next year is to tap into the Middle East and Russia,” says Rian Lee, head of the company’s new business team.

He says the company’s ability to advance has been complicated in that its products are classified as food in some places and as medicine in other countries.

Cheong Kwan Jang, the corporation’s most representative brand, has been pioneering the healthcare food category in the travel retail market.

Buoyed by a hike in demand mainly among Chinese tourists, Cheong Kwan Jang’s earnings have risen by an annual average of 20 per cent over the past seven years, the company says. Non-Korean customers accounted for a quarter of the brand’s earnings last year, from roughly 15 per cent in 2012. 

Lower entry barrier

At the exhibition, the company promoted its new duty-free exclusive Cheong Kwan Jang Family Plus series launched this year, as well as its top-selling Korean Red Ginseng Everytime extract. This series comprises six supplements made into tablets and capsules to lower the entry barrier for customers new to red ginseng.

Korea Ginseng last year clinched deals with Taiwanese international airline Eva Air, Taiwan’s largest airline China Airlines, and Hong Kong-based high-end travel retailer DFS.

To help familiarise industry officials with its products, the company served red ginseng cocktails as well as honey-mixed red ginseng ice tea at the show.

Led by Cheong Kwan Jang’s growth, Korea Ginseng posted KRW1.2 trillion (US$1.1 trillion) in earnings last year, up 8.3 per cent.

“Definitely we are seeing the demand for Cheong Kwan Jang grow mainly among the younger generation here,” says director Tan Yan Shao of Wing Joo Loong, Cheong Kwan Jang’s longtime importer and distributor in Singapore.

Wing Joo Loong began importing Cheong Kwan Jang products in the 1940s through Korea Ginseng’s predecessor Samjeonggwa, a department established under Emperor Gojong in the Joseon era in 1899.

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has officially certified five health effects of red ginseng: improvements in immunity, fatigue, memory, anti-oxidative activity, and blood circulation.

Meanwhile, Korea Ginseng has been expanding into the health and beauty market with experimental stores.

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